Category: Blog

Lost and Found

By Jean Trounstine   

“This hospital would be impossible for anyone with a normal brain to navigate,” Barbara says, eyes flashing anxiously. We stand arm in arm, staring at the colored squares and rectangles on the wall map that shows Building A connecting to Building C via hallways called B. I’ve never looked at a hospital floor plan before… Read more »


Martha Nichols

Interview with Martha Nichols

By Lee Hope   

Interview with Martha Nichols, editor of Into Sanity, Interview by Lee Hope Editor-in-Chief, Solstice: Essays about Mental Health, Mental Illness, and Living In Between — A Talking Writing Anthology Could you describe how you see the “ancestral threads” of mental illness permeating many of these essays? Could you give a few examples? The image of… Read more »


The Vestiges of Theaters of War

By Nelson Lowhim   

In this post,author and veteran Nelson Lowhim reflects on PTSD and the discussions that happen, and don’t happen, between veterans and civilians. I recently went to a dramatic reading of the Sophocles play Ajax, hosted by Theater of War, a group that uses theater to explore PTSD, trauma, and other difficult topics. In the production,… Read more »


A Writer-Photographer’s Poignant Essay about Smelter Town

By William Crawford   

Managing Editor’s Note:  In this piece by William Crawford, his photo of a cemetery in a town devastated by contamination from mining triggers a touching essay about the birth and death of a town and the melancholy words of Tom Rush, a popular folk singer-songwriter from the 1970’s.  The underlying poisoning of the town is a story… Read more »


Misogyny and the Acceptance of Violence Against Women

By Patricia Carrillo   

Note from Intern Anita Ballesteros: Patricia Carrillo Collard, in this week’s powerful blog post, snaps the reader to attention.  Patricia challenges us all to look deeper within ourselves with her reflections on societal acceptance of violence against women and marginalization of women as a result of conscious — and subconscious — misogyny. MISOGYNIST — WHO,… Read more »


The Immigrant Experience Then and Now — and Hope for the Future

By Diane O'Neill   

Note from Intern Anita Ballesteros:  This week in our guest blog post, Diane O’Neill writes about her personal experience as a descendant of Irish immigrants, and her views on the social and political climate surrounding immigrants in America today.  America is built on many nations, and her piece speaks to the current perceptions and the… Read more »


Finding Unexpected Hope for Diversity in 2018 Olympic Skating

By Jane Shiau   

Note from Intern Anita Ballesteros:  In Jane Shiau’s guest blog post this week, she shares her personal humorous and uplifting account of finding a sense of belonging in America through Olympic figure skater Adam Rippon.  This short piece resonates with the challenge of feeling welcome in today’s multicultural environment. A WRITER FINDS HOPE IN OLYMPIC… Read more »


Deadly Love: The Cost of Silence on Domestic Violence

By Anita Ballesteros   

Last week, a young woman, 20 years old, a classmate of my son’s from kindergarten through graduation, was murdered. In the sleepy bedroom community that we live in, such news is always shocking. There is a bubble of safety, or the illusion of it, that surrounds us here. She was killed — no, not killed, violently slaughtered – by her boyfriend, in a wealthy, predominantly white suburb close to Boston.


Neurodiverse Students Need Creative Arts

By Donnie Welch   

I run poetry workshops for students with developmental disabilities. Every week I meet with thirty-six students to work on the writing of original poetry. By and large, creative work and arts education is met with skepticism in neurodiverse education. It can be cute to do the occasional, holiday art project, but researchers can’t track data from it, school districts can’t quantify the results of it, and, as a result, schools can’t fund it.


Poetry as Penumbra in the Midst of Political Upheaval (and meet our new intern!)

By Robbie Gamble and Anita Ballesteros   

Managing Editor’s Note: Today we feature poet, essayist, and social justice activist Robbie Gamble. Robbie considers the purpose and function of poetry in the context of this year’s solar eclipse and political upheaval, writing that poetry can help us “explore the emotional nuances we are experiencing at the edge of all the chaos.”

First, read an introduction by our new intern, Anita Ballesteros. Anita comes to Solstice Magazine from Lesley University’s MFA program, where she studies fiction writing. As you’ll see, Anita has led a fascinating life full of travel, diverse experiences, education, and motherhood. Welcome Anita!


Solstice Magazine Honors Martin Luther King

By Danielle Legros Georges and Richard Hoffman   

In recognition of Martin Luther King Day, we are sharing two pieces that reflect on our current socio-political landscape. Read Boston Poet Laureate Danielle Legros Georges’ essay “American Without Prefix” and Solstice Magazine’s Nonfiction Editor Richard Hoffman’s poem STATE OF THE UNION.


Protesting Police Brutality: From Taking a Knee in the U.S to Striking in Catalan

By Chetan Tiwari and Sandell Morse   

Today, in our continuing series on social justice issues, we feature two pieces that deal with protest and how it is talked about within a society. In “Focus,” Chetan Tiwari writes about Colin Kaepernick’s taking a knee during the national anthem at NFL games, and how our discussions about this veer away from the topic of police brutality to patriotism and other “weapons of mass distraction.” In “A Cautionary Tale,” Sandell Morse shares her experience visiting Catalan during the National Strike, held to protest police brutality, Finding that civility prevails in the discussions she heard about this charged topic, Morse worries that the United States, with its current less-than-civilized approach to political discourse, may become “a cautionary tale” for the Catalonians


Taking a Stand Against Racism: Never Too Early, Never Too Late

By Vanessa Lewis and Jen Minotti   

The first two guest posts in our series addressing social justice. In the first, Jennifer Minotti confronts fellow parents after one of their children uses a racial slur against her daughter. In the second, Vanessa Lewis challenges the idea that to “take a knee” during the anthem at a football game is unpatriotic.


The Dark Courage of “Writing Through Postpartum”

By Rachel Berg Scherer   

I adored the process of having my first baby. I was so thankful to be pregnant, I loved labor, and I loved giving birth. It was overwhelmingly empowering and powerful and transformative. I would give birth every day for a month if it meant I didn’t have to live with a newborn again.


We Play Hard: Artists of Color on Play and Relaxation

By Rochelle Spencer   

“As African Americans, when we play, we play hard,” says Johnnie Davis, Director of Serenity House, a program that provides services for women who have been raped or molested, and experience homelessness, and/or mental health or emotional issues, tells me inside Serenity House’s ocean-colored walls. 


Writing, Meditation, and the Art of Looking

By Marilyn McCabe   

I took a class to learn how to meditate. It didn’t go well. At least I didn’t keep falling asleep, like one guy did. I was always thinking about food. (This kind of stuff seems to have that effect on me — I took a yoga class some years ago, and all I could think about was: Is this over soon so I can go have a beer? And I don’t even really drink beer.)


Choosing America

By Shilpi Suneja   

Two days after Srinivas Kuchibhotlas was shot dead at a bar in Kansas, his wife Sunayana Dumala spoke at a press conference about her concern for staying on in America. “I often asked my husband,” she revealed, her voice breaking, “are we doing the right thing (by) staying.” Sunayana’s fears hint at the awkward moral burden immigrants from the Indian subcontinent place upon themselves.


Truth as a Hammer: Managing the Politics of Family

By Jill Johnson   

Sorting through files in my parent’s office after they’d moved into assisted living, I found an old newspaper clipping–an editorial Mom had written. I paused at her bio: activist, teacher, homemaker. The description evoked a woman with defined lines, neat and contained.


Race and Disability as Construct: Lisa McKenzie’s “What Lasts”

By Lisa McKenzie   

I was sitting with my husband outside an ice cream shop on the east side of Cincinnati, watching our son caper around a park with his buddies from Shakespeare Camp, when my husband observed, “I don’t feel white here.”

My husband is white. Half white. He is also half Chinese.


Meditation, Writing, and the Act of Deep Internal Listening

By Jessie L. Benjamin   

Meditation creates the space, writing fills the void. I’m called to both.
For twenty years, my daily sitting meditation practice has nourished me. It’s essential, like oxygen keeping me sane and, hopefully, kinder and more compassionate.


Review of Dennis Hinrichsen’s Skin Music

By Kevin Holton   

A book of poetry, more than a book in any other genre, has the unique power to switch from topic to topic, spanning continents and eons if the writer wishes, to capture a wide array of experiences. Skin Music, by Dennis Hinrichsen, does this well.


Writing as a Meditation Practice

By Elaine Fletcher Chapman   

The year my mother died, I claimed a desk for myself in the family room. I placed my notebook and the books that were my touchstones at the time on the desk. I bought a beautiful fountain pen from pennies saved, ink made from roses.


Listen and Look: Joyce Peseroff Reviews ask anyone by Poet Ruth Lepson

By Joyce Peseroff   

  Reviewer—Joyce Peseroff ASK ANYONE by Ruth Lepson, Pressed Wafer, 2016, 68pp., $12.50 Managing Editor’s Note: Some reviews of poetry collections are not only insightful, but a pleasure to read. Reviewing poetry is a challenging task, given the art form’s sometimes slippery use of language and the subjective quality of interpretation. Peseroff manages it beautifully.… Read more »


Defining Diversity and Why #Black Lives Matter is a Statement of Unity

By Kathleen Aguero   

he powerful grassroots movement, #BlackLivesMatter, is sometimes countered with the slogan “all lives matter.” Well, of course they do. That’s the point of #BlackLivesMatter—to demand we acknowledge the importance of lives, Black lives, too often treated as if they mattered not at all, with tragic results.


Stories of Sexual Assault: Women, Men, and the Growing Community of Listeners

By Eileen O'Connor   

Canadian author Kelly Oxford’s tweet from the evening of October 7 was brave. Her call to women, “tweet me your first assaults,” was significant. It was the right tweet at the right time. By the next evening, Oxford was receiving up to fifty responses per minute. Millions of stories have since been shared at #notokay, and many of these tweets represent the first time someone has shared her story. Many note that, like me, they kept quiet for so long because of shame. It took me fourteen years.


“Shifting Ground” and Hopeful Seasons in Wendy Mnookin’s Dinner with Emerson, and a Call for Submissions About Gender Inequality

By Rebecca Hart Olander   

Wendy Mnookin’s fifth collection, Dinner with Emerson, is organized according to the four seasons. It begins with spring and runs through the year, followed by a fifth section, “Another Spring,” that features poems in a season that stretch beyond “Winter.” There is a sense of the ongoing about these poems, that life marches on, that we learn to turn the page, and that despite whatever we are slogging through, there will be another season.


Creative Strategies for Supporting Writers with Mental Illness

By J.A. Grier   

You know a writer with mental illness, even if you don’t realize it or know that person by name. Maybe the writer is a friend, or someone in your critique group, or someone you met at a writer’s convention. Maybe it’s someone you are working with on a publication.

Or maybe that writer is you.


Diversity and the Exploitiation of Adjunct Professors

By Jennifer Jean   

This past May, I drove Professor Gwendolyn Rosemond home after she attended one of the bi-annual artist retreats I co-direct with my husband—we traveled along scenic route 127, from Gloucester at the tip of Cape Ann in Massachusetts, to Salem which is further South, at the Northshore’s midpoint. We drove for about forty five minutes and in that span we solved both the adjunct problem and the diversity problem at universities. Well, we solved a key portion of these problems. “Grow your own!” Gwen said. And, she was absolutely right.


Welcome From Amy, the New Blog Editor

By Amy Grier   

Hello! You have, for the first time, the tenth, or the hundredth, happened upon SolsticeLitBlog. We are the official blog of Solstice: A Magazine of Diverse Voices. Welcome!


Interview With Lou Jones

By Lee Hope   

I was honored to interview the internationally known photographer, Lou Jones. Lou also quietly serves on many boards to further photography and mentors multiple young photographers.  He is an artist who gives back, in his art and in his service.


Solstice mentioned in Bookfox

Solstice mentioned in Bookfox

By Amy Yelin   

Bookfox, a literary blog run by John Matthew Fox, included Solstice in his annual list of Literary Non-Fiction Markets! Thanks for including us, John!


Lee Hope on Jordan Rich Show and #2 at SPD

By Lee Hope   

Solstice editor-in-chief, Lee Hope, was interviewed on The Jordan Rich Show about her novel, Horsefever. You can hear the full interview here. Also, Horsefever has been listed as the Small Press Distribution #2 fiction bestseller in Jan/Feb. Due out on March 16th, you can order Horsefever today at Amazon and Barnes & Noble! LIKE: https://www.facebook.com/Lee-Hope-507320366097313/ • MORE INFO: leehopeauthor.com


Richard Hoffman interviews Lee Hope

Richard Hoffman interviews Lee Hope

By Richard Hoffman   

Due out on March 16th, you can order Horsefever today at Amazon and Barnes & Noble. Like Lee Hope on Facebook. • MORE INFO: leehopeauthor.com Who Sinks? Who Rises Up Again? An Interview with Lee Hope (originally published at Fiction Writers Review) I have been an admirer of Lee Hope’s fiction for many years. Her widely published short stories are… Read more »


Announcing the Judges for our Annual Literary Contest

Announcing the Judges for our Annual Literary Contest

By Lee Hope   

The reading period for our Annual Literary Contest opens this Saturday (Feb 20th), and we couldn’t be more excited about this year’s judges! Richard Blanco will be the judge for the Stephen Dunn Prize in Poetry, Celeste Ng will be the judge for our Fiction Prize, and Michael Steinberg will be the judge for our… Read more »


Review: Skin Music by Dennis Hinrichsen

Review: Skin Music by Dennis Hinrichsen

By Kathleen Aguero   

Skin Music by Dennis Hinrichsen Winner of the 2014 Michael Weaver Poetry Prize Southern Indiana Review Press, 2015 74 pp., $14.95     One of the great pleasures of Dennis Hinrichsen’s award winning poetry collection, Skin Music, is watching the poet consider large questions and concepts while paying careful attention to the specific details of… Read more »


Interview with Carmen Maria Machado

Interview with Carmen Maria Machado

By Lee Hope   

Carmen Maria Machado’s debut short story collection, Her Body and Other Parties, is forthcoming from Graywolf Press. She has been nominated for a Nebula Award and a Shirley Jackson Award, and her fiction and nonfiction have appeared in The New Yorker, Granta, Best American Science Fiction & Fantasy 2015, and elsewhere. She is a graduate of the Iowa Writers’ Workshop and the… Read more »


Interview with Poet Ruth Lepson

Interview with Poet Ruth Lepson

By Danielle Legros Georges   

Ruth Lepson is poet-in-residence at the New England Conservatory of Music. She is the author of the poetry volumes I Went Looking for You (BlazeVOX, 2009), Morphology with photographer Rusty Crump (BlazeVOX, 2008), Dreaming in Color (Alice James Books, 1980), and editor of Poetry from Sojourner: A Feminist Anthology (University of Illinois Press, 2004).  A… Read more »


An Interview with Poet Irene Koronas

An Interview with Poet Irene Koronas

By Mary Buchinger   

Irene Koronas is a multi-media artist, painter, poet and editor of Wilderness House Literary Review.  She is the author of three volumes of poetry, self portrait drawn from many (Ibbettson Street Press, 2007), Pentakomo Cyprus (Cervena Barva Press, 2009), turtle grass (Muddy River Books, 2014) and many chapbooks.  Her visual art has been shown in… Read more »


An Interview with Poet Douglas Kearney

An Interview with Poet Douglas Kearney

By Danielle Legros Georges   

Douglas Kearney is a poet, performer, librettist, and a faculty member at California Institute of the Arts MFA in Creative Writing. He is the author of three volumes of poetry, Patter (Red Hen Press, 2014), The Black Automaton (Fence Books, 2009), Fear, Some (Red Hen Press, 2006) and several chapbooks. He was interviewed by Danielle… Read more »


Interview with Richard Hoffman

Interview with Richard Hoffman

By Amy Yelin   

An interview with Richard Hoffman on the occasion of the 20th Anniversary Edition of his memoir Half the House, with a foreword by Louise DeSalvo. An excerpt of Half the House is available here How did the process of writing Half the House differ from your second book, Love & Fury? Do you see Love & Fury as a… Read more »


The Uncomfortable Part of Art: Tips for Promoting Your Book

The Uncomfortable Part of Art: Tips for Promoting Your Book

By Margaret Elysia Garcia   

Yay! Congratulations your book is out! What will you do next? Now comes the uncomfortable part of art for many of us: commerce. After all that’s a huge aspect of the book—to get people to BUY it. In a world with literally millions of books that’s not an easy task. I recently completed a second… Read more »


And now, the end is near…

And now, the end is near…

By Amy Yelin   

My parents loved Sinatra. I recall many Saturday evenings in the mid-1980’s sitting in the backseat of my father’s Buick Regal as we drove slowly around what was called ‘the big circle’ listening to the radio program “Saturdays with Sinatra.” Both my parents sang along as I cringed, a teenager trapped in her parent’s back… Read more »


In Conversation with 2015 Fiction Contest Winner Shanyn Fiske

In Conversation with 2015 Fiction Contest Winner Shanyn Fiske

By Wendy Pierman Mitzel   

Wendy: Why did you decide to submit “Calligraphy,” your winning piece, to the contest? Did you see it as a good fit for Solsticelitmag and our diverse voices theme?  Shanyn: “Calligraphy” is one piece from a collection of related stories that I’m currently writing. The collection focuses on the four Yu daughters as they grow… Read more »